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Hindawi Publishing Corporation

International Journal of Antennas and Propagation
Volume 2013, Article ID 869170, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/869170

Review Article
Recent Developments in Reconfigurable and Multiband
Antenna Technology
N. Haider, D. Caratelli, and A. G. Yarovoy
Microwave Sensing, Signals and Systems, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 4, 2628 CD, Delft, The Netherlands
Correspondence should be addressed to N. Haider; s.n.haider@tudelft.nl
Received 7 December 2012; Accepted 30 January 2013
Academic Editor: Renato Cicchetti
Copyright © 2013 N. Haider et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License,
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
A comparative analysis of various reconfigurable and multiband antenna concepts is presented. In order to satisfy the requirements
for the advanced systems used in modern wireless and radar applications, different multiband and reconfigurable antennas have
been proposed and investigated in the past years. In this paper, these design concepts have been classified into three basic
approaches: tunable/switchable antenna integration with radio-frequency switching devices, wideband or multiband antenna
integration with tunable filters, and array architectures with the same aperture utilized for different operational modes. Examples
of each design approach are discussed along with their inherent benefits and challenges.

1. Introduction
Traditionally wireless systems are designed for single predefined mission. Therefore, the antennas of these systems
also possess some fixed parameters such as frequency band,
radiation pattern, polarization, and gain. Recently reconfigurable antennas (RAs) have gain tremendous research
interest for many different applications, for example, cellular radio system, radar system, satellite communication,
airplane, and unmanned airborne vehicle (UAV) radar, smart
weapon protection. In mobile and satellite communications,
reconfigurable antennas are useful to support a large number
of standards (e.g., UMTS, Bluetooth, WiFi, WiMAX, DSRC)
to mitigate strong interference signal and to cope with
the changing environmental condition. On the other hand,
in radar applications, reconfigurability at antenna level is
often needed for multifunctional operation. This feature is
achieved by utilizing antenna array systems that can be
quickly adapted according to the mission. Therefore, a control
over operating frequency, beam pointing direction, polarization, antenna gain, and so forth is required. A single RA
can replace a number of single-function antennas. Thereby
overall size, cost, and complexity of a system can be reduced
while improving performance such as radar cross-section
(RCS). This paper gives a comparative analysis of various

concepts that has been utilized to design reconfigurable
antennas.

2. Design Concepts for
Reconfigurable Antennas
In recent time, many interesting and novel concepts have
been developed to achieve adaptable antenna properties. Key
aspects of some outstanding concepts will be addressed in
the following sections. In our discussion, we mainly focus
on antenna design with frequency agility. Some examples of
antenna structures with polarization, bandwidth, and pattern
reconfigurable property will be addressed as well.
There are basically three design approaches for achieving
antenna frequency agility which are as follows:
(a) antennas integrated with electronic switches,
mechanical actuators, tunable materials for
reconfigurability in terms of circuital characteristics
and/or radiation properties;
(b) ultrawideband (UWB) or multiband antennas integrated with tunable filters;
(c) reconfigurable/multiband arrays where the same
aperture is utilized for different operational modes.

MEMS. Simulation and experimental results predicted that the resonance frequencies of the antenna can be shifted from 10. The disadvantage of this approach is the need of many switches which will increase the cost and the power loss. continuous tuning Need high-control voltage (50–100 V). and/or scan angle [5].2 International Journal of Antennas and Propagation Table 1: Comparison of tunable components.1. A well-known example of frequency tuning with MEMS is the pixel antenna concept (see Figure 3) which allows for switching in frequency band. some examples of reconfigurable antennas. the topology of a reconfigurable microstrip patch antenna using RF-MEMS has been presented (see Figure 4). nonlinear behavior. slow switching speed. The DC voltage of the MEMS is applied between the RF signal line and the ground plane which eliminated the need for additional bias 𝐺slot = 500 𝜇m 𝑉DC (−) Signal 𝐿 feed = 5. In the following sections. Tunable/Switchable Antenna Technology 3. However. low power losses. the frequency tuning was achieved by utilizing the RF MEMS variable capacitor on a stub as depicted in Figure 1. and complexity of the biasing circuitry. noise. and negligible direct-current (DC) power consumption. Therefore. In this paper. A capacitive MEMS loaded PIFA antenna (see Figure 2) has been studied in [4]. extremely low cost The current flow through the varactor is small compared to PIN diode or MEMS. A dual-band tunable rectangular slot antenna was presented in [3]. operating mostly at the lower portion of the microwave spectrum. the production cost of the antenna on quartz substrate has been reduced using only two lithographic steps.7 GHz. However. Reconfigurable antenna design with RF MEMS switches has gain tremendous research interest [3–12]. Frequency reconfigurable antennas are often realized by employing radio frequency (RF) microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). In [7]. there has been a notable advancement in adaptable antenna technology. This approach reduces the requirements of the front-end filter compared to a UWB or multiband antenna. wide bandwidth Needs very low driving voltage. poor reliability due to mechanical movement within the switch (0. Ground 𝐺 = 25 𝜇m 𝑉DC (+) 𝑆 = 210 𝜇m 𝐺 = 25 𝜇m 1 mm 𝑊 = 13 mm Tunable component 𝑉DC (−) 𝐿 = 5. the references are selected based on the applied technologies and design concepts. Recent advancements in MEMS technology enable the realization of MEMS with high switching speed and compact size. varactors. Frequency Tuning with MEMS Switches. poor quality factor. limited lifecycle Needs high DC bias current in their on state which consumes a significant amount of DC power. low noise figure.2–100 𝜇s).6 mm 21 mm Frequency reconfiguration has become important for many modern communication systems. Furthermore. the power handling capability and the lifetime of these components are also important issues to take into account during the design stage. high tuning speed (1–100 ns). high quality factor. consumes little or almost no DC power. have been discussed. polarization. discrete tuning Varactors are nonlinear and have low dynamic range. as well as the complexity of the biasing circuit. good isolation. very reliable since there are no moving part. In this study. A comparison of these components is provided in Table 1.g. a switching time of 225 ns has been reported. Among them utilizing the same antenna aperture for different frequencies will provide the most compact solution. varactor) in the radiating element might increase the power loss.7 GHz to 8. or PIN diodes. . Relatively narrowband antennas with tunable or switchable properties are the best solution when the size and efficiency are important issues. integrating a large number of lumped components (e. extremely high linearity. high power handling capability. in this design. The outcome of this study confirmed that the antenna is capable of operating over a bandwidth of more than one octave while improving the performance in terms of specific absorption rate. and in [2] MEMS with dimensions as small as few 𝜇m have been shown. MEMS PIN Diode Varactor Advantages Disadvantages Reduced insertion loss. lines. independent tuning in both frequency bands is not achieved.. The MEMS components have some advantages over PIN or varactor diodes.22 GHz to 10. and complex bias circuitry are required 3. discrete tuning. such as reduced insertion loss. extremely high linearity. In [1]. In this design.6 mm Ground 18 mm Figure 1: Slot-ring antenna loaded with MEMS [3]. low power losses.57 GHz and from 7.

The antenna proposed in [8] provides frequency and polarization reconfigurability. adjustable high impedance surface (HIS) using varactor diodes has been utilized in an active reflectarray (Figure 8). this antenna has potential to be fabricated as an integrated antenna system on the chip (SoC). the −3 dB axial ratio bandwidth is only 1. So. Frequency Tuning with Varactors. By properly selecting the ON/OFF state of different RF-MEMS (Figure 5). or linear polarization. the real part of the feed-point impedance has been modified to obtain the desired optimal impedance matching. In [17].6%. the fractional bandwidth is 11% although. the resonating microstrip radiator consists of several smaller patches which are interconnected by varactors. the resonance frequency for linear polarization shifts depending if all the MEMS are in ON state or OFF state. unbalanced biasing of varactor sets electrically shifts the feed point out of the antenna center. a new and simple antenna topology for frequency and polarization diversity is presented (Figure 6).25 GHz and 5. the antenna can be configured into right-handed circular polarization (RHCP). 3. The reflection phase coefficient of these unit cells can be controlled by changing the capacitance . The results presented in [7] confirmed that the operational band of the antenna can be switched between 5.2.6 GHz.International Journal of Antennas and Propagation 3 PCB feed DC bias lines (d) Feed (c) Switched connection (for impedance matching) (a) Switched connection (for frequency tuning) (b) Short to ground Figure 2: Frequency switchable PIFA antenna with MEMS [4]. Figure 4: Frequency switchable antenna based on MEMS technology [7]. These varactors are independently biased to change the electrical lengths of the corresponding patches MEMS MEMS 3 1 MEMS MEMS 2 4 𝐿 gap 𝑊slot 𝐿 cut Figure 5: Frequency and polarization agile patch antenna [8]. shape. and thereby change the resonant frequency of the corresponding modes. 𝐿 slot Therefore. A differentially fed microstrip antenna with frequency tuning capability has been presented in [14] where varactor diodes have been utilized to tune the operational band (see Figure 7). left-handed circular polarization (LHCP). In this design. In addition. 𝐿 patch Figure 3: Frequency reconfigurable pixel patch antenna [6]. while maintaining its well-known characteristics. The proposed design provides impedance bandwidth of 9% relative to 10 dB return loss level when configured for linear polarization. In this way. Furthermore. this antenna structure is characterized by poor radiation efficiency. For circular polarization. it is to be noticed. due to the high ohmic losses in the aluminum. and feed-point location. the whole microstrip structure can be adjusted in terms of electrical size. In [13]. The angular position of the feed point defines the antenna polarization state. Integrating varactors in an antenna structure is a common way for achieving frequency agility [13–18]. However.

On the other hand. the implementation of the PIN diode in the CPW line might degrade the antenna performance. As illustrated in Figure 11. The proposed method provides polarization agility with single feed line. a reconfigurable meander radiator is proposed which is composed of three PIN diodes and one varactor diode (see Figure 9). Here the antenna polarization can be switched between vertical and horizontal polarization by changing the feeding structure between CPW feed and slotline feed. For systems which do not require fast pattern reconfiguration. 3. efficiency. a square ring antenna with a bendable parasitic plate has been used for machineto-machine (M2M) communications (see Figure 15).4 International Journal of Antennas and Propagation Capacitors 𝑈1 Bias voltage Substrate (𝜀𝑟 ) 𝐿 𝐿𝑆 𝐿𝐶 𝑈3 𝐿𝑆 𝑈4 Feed probe 𝑈2 RF choke Varactors Figure 6: Varactor-loaded patch antenna [13]. Mechanically reconfigurable antennas have also been used to achieve pattern diversity with a single radiating element. need to be considered. 3. Reconfigurability with tunable material is a very new research area and still facing challenges such as reliability. Mechanically reconfigurable antennas are promising devices which can provide reduced RF loss. such as the total size and overall complexity of the system. The geometry of the antenna is presented in Figure 12. square-ring loaded probe-fed reconfigurable patch elements were arranged in such a way that half wavelength element spacing has been maintained at both frequency bands and hence provides wide angle scanning at both bands. In this case.4. and lower side lobes level than conventional phased array. However. narrow main lobe. in recent times many researches are carried out in this region and notable achievements have been reported [33–38]. ring slots bridged by PIN diode switches have been inserted in the radiating element to obtain a narrowband resonating behavior at different frequencies. However. The test result of this structure indicates a wideband operation (>25%). The operating modes of the CPW-to-slotline transition are shown in Figure 13. Figure 7: Frequency tunable differentially fed patch antenna [14]. In the study presented in [19]. Frequency Reconfigurability by Tunable Materials. In this respect. The antenna topologies discussed above utilized lumped tunable components. mechanically reconfigurable antennas are being investigated [30–32]. and proper modeling. and better linearity with respect to antenna structures integrated with electronic switches. Many antenna engineers use PIN diode as the switching component [18–29]. this approach is attractive to replace the need of expensive phased array. higher isolation.3. As it can be noticed in Figure 10. The electric field distribution of this design for two orthogonal polarizations is presented in Figure 14. The slotline mode is activated when PIN 2 is ON and PIN 1 is OFF. Disadvantage of this type of material is the large bias voltage required to change the dielectric constant and high losses of the material. 21]. the right slotline is used to feed the horizontal polarization. the resonant frequency can be tuned from 470 MHz to 1080 MHz. More recently for applications where RF switches are not desired due to the additional power losses in the switches and complexity of the bias lines. Ferroelectric dielectric materials can be used for reconfigurable antennas as their permittivity changes with the applied DC bias voltage (see Figure 16) [33]. 3. a switchable Vivaldi antenna has been demonstrated to provide either a narrowor wideband frequency response. by properly selecting the state of the diodes. values of these varactors. In [22]. the PIN diodes are deactivated wherein a wideband operation is desired. a polarization reconfigurable slot antenna is proposed. In [31]. In [30]. It has been demonstrated that. the structure operates in the CPW mode. This ability to change the phase of the reflection coefficient of the unit cell gives the possibility to reconfigure the radiation pattern of the array. a rotatable antenna has been designed for cognitive radio to tune the operational band from 2 to 10 GHz. practical issues. Nevertheless. Mechanically Reconfigurable Antennas. . When PIN 1 is ON and PIN 2 is OFF. However. A frequency reconfigurable L/S band phased-array antenna has been studied in [20. the reduced polarization purity is a limiting factor.5. Frequency Tuning with PIN Diodes. In [18]. the varactor diode is useful to adjust the resonant frequency in a fine way. Furthermore. some results indicated that this type of antenna can provide higher directivity.

In this design. The conductivity of SPIN changes proportionally to the plasma density. a semiconductor chip has been used which contains the PIN structures. Another example of reconfigure antenna with tunable material property is the plasma antenna. In [34]. Figure 10: Switchable Vivaldi antenna [19]. cc2.International Journal of Antennas and Propagation 5 (a) (b) Figure 8: Basic geometry of the unit cell (a) and the array structure (b) of an adjustable high impedance surface [17]. The chip acts as a planar dielectric waveguide and electromagnetic waves can propagate in it. The plasma channels are . This way a different antenna configuration can be created. Therefore. Metal-like conductive plasma channels in high-resistivity silicon can be activated by the injection of a suitable DC current [35]. 𝑑𝐿 𝑑𝑆 𝑑𝐿 RF-switch 𝑑𝑆 ℎ Figure 11: Reconfigurable ring-loaded patch antenna array [20]. These SPIN diodes can be activated or deactivated to produce the desired radiation pattern. The proposed structure is illustrated in Figures 18 and 19. a waveguide slot antenna with reconfigurable aperture is presented (see Figure 17). The reconfigurable aperture consists of a number of surface PIN diodes (SPIN). One metal on alumina and three identical plasma islands constitute the monopole antenna. For this. and cc3) [18]. It has been claimed in [34] that the plasma of carriers created by forward biased PIN structures locally affects the wave propagation velocity and helps to steer the beam within a wide steering angle. additional flexibility can be achieved compared to conventional waveguide slot antennas. plasma regions which have relatively high electrical conductivity can be temporarily created inside a silicon substrate. cc3 Varactor Bias point 𝑊𝐿 𝑊𝑆 𝑊𝐿 cc2 cc1 𝑊𝑆 Feed Figure 9: Reconfigurable meander antenna loaded with PIN diodes (cc1.

one needs antenna solutions which feature good performance (good impedance matching. Wideband Antenna Integration with Tunable Filters In Section 4. A new approach which has recently gained a lot of research interest is the liquid crystal tunable antennas. the use of LCs at microwave and millimeter-wave frequencies requires first their electromagnetic characterization in terms of dielectric properties at these frequencies. radiation pattern. however. beam shaping. Liquid crystals (LCs) are substances whose phase of matter has properties of both a conventional liquid and a solid crystal. such as the exploitation of microfluidics [39. realized by using high-resolution silicon fabrication technology. In this approach. Researches of Sheffield University have demonstrated an LC tunable microstrip patch antenna at 5 GHz [36] with a tuning range of 4–8% (see Figure 20). and steering without the complexity of RF feed structures. 40].) for the whole bandwidth of interest and a tunable filter will be used to select the operational frequency band. for phased-array application. Overall it appears that a careful design of the mixture is of crucial importance for the applicability of this type of material in reconfigurable devices. 42]. . unidirectional radiation is required. the antenna suffered from poor efficiency (20–40%). while the electromagnetic behavior of LCs is well understood at optical frequencies. Furthermore. other promising research areas are emerging. Idle ∼ Feed (a) ∼ Feed (b) Figure 13: Feeding structure of the reconfigurable slot antenna: (a) CPW mode. Besides the above-mentioned reconfigurable concepts. etc. The dielectric permittivity of an LC can be varied by orienting its molecules with an electrostatic or magnetostatic field or by surface interaction with a mechanically rubbed polyamide film. It is. The available literature on this topic is limited to a few LC mixtures. The approach presented in [35] can provide high resolution due to the advancements in semiconductor technology. The permittivity of a liquid crystal can be varied with DC bias voltage. However. optical controls [41. gain. some examples of reconfigurable antenna with tunable or switchable components have been provided. Another approach is to use ultrawideband or multiband antenna elements [45–60]. to be noticed that. due to the high losses in the LC material. (b) slotline mode [22]. It has been pointed out in [35] that these reconfigurable antennas enable frequency hopping.6 International Journal of Antennas and Propagation 𝑊 𝑍 𝑊𝑆 𝑊1 𝑊1 𝐿2 𝐿 𝐿𝑆 𝑋 𝑆2 PIN 1 𝐿𝐺 𝐿1 PIN 2 𝑆1 (a) 𝑆1 (b) Figure 12: Geometry of a reconfigurable slot antenna [22]. and graphene [43. 4. 44] in reconfigurable antennas.

the high cross-polarization and high mutual coupling .5729𝑒+002 7. (b) slot-line mode [22]. such as antipodal Vivaldi antennas and linear tapered slot antenna (LTSA) can also be used for phased array.5779𝑒+002 2.0000𝑒+000 (a) (b) Figure 14: Electric field distribution within the reconfigurable slot antenna: (a) CPW mode. But to date. Dual polarized Vivaldi antenna arrays (see Figure 21).1457𝑒+002 3. DC bias Ground plane Figure 18: Assembled monopole unit [35]. (a) (b) Figure 15: Reconfigurable square ring-patch antenna with dual-flap ground-shorted parasitic patch [31].8 mm 𝑉 ℎ4 ℎ3 ℎ2 ℎ1 Alumina 𝜀4 𝜀2 𝜎→∞ 5. transversal electromagnetic (TEM) horn or dielectric filled waveguide antenna can provide extremely wide bandwidth with directive radiation pattern.International Journal of Antennas and Propagation 7 1. There has been a lot of broadband antenna design for different applications. Radiator with current 𝐽𝑥𝑒 Coaxial connector 10. State “on” State “off ” (c) 𝑍 Figure 17: Slotted waveguide antenna [34]. For instance.2357𝑒+001 1.5 mm DC voltage 𝜃 𝑌 Ferroelectric 𝜀3 Figure 16: Ferroelectric antenna concept [33].0050𝑒+002 4.0000𝑒+003 9.1507𝑒+002 1.2914𝑒+002 𝐸 field (V/m) 7.4371𝑒+002 7. End fire wideband antennas.8643𝑒+002 2.7186𝑒+002 5.2864𝑒+002 8. can be designed for more than 10:1 bandwidths while scanning 45∘ or more.8593𝑒+002 6.4321𝑒+002 5.

The antenna concept is based on the combination of the electromagnetic characteristics of a loop and a planar monopole [48. Other potential candidates of UWB phased-array element are the 3D monopole antenna (fat monopole. Furthermore. they can radiate fields in two orthogonal planes while maintaining their wideband properties. This concept is attractive since it does not require the insertion of switching component directly in the radiating element. where a bandpass filter is integrated in the feeding line of the radiating structure resulting in a frequency switchable filtenna. antenna performance should be good and consistent over a very wide frequency band.8 International Journal of Antennas and Propagation Test devices CPW to CPS balun DC bias and control lines Silicon wafer Plasma dipole radiator Figure 21: Dual-polarized Vivaldi array [45]. As shown in Figure 22. 5.6 5 30 TLY-5 Patch with microstrip line 0. An alternative solution is to place the filter in the radiating element itself. Nevertheless. Reconfigurable Array Structures In the two approaches detailed in the previous sections. Figure 19: Monolithic dipole on a silicon wafer [35].29 15. cylindrical monopole) and dielectric resonator or dielectric lens antenna.43 18. Reconfigurable filter 18.29 (b) Figure 22: Frequency reconfigurable filtenna: (a) top layer and (b) bottom layer [16]. 49]. tab monopole. this approach requires filters with very high out-of-band noise rejection capability. An example of this design approach is provided by the reconfigurable Vivaldi antenna presented in [16]. A nondispersive wideband antenna has been used as the radiating element.8 Figure 20: LC tunable microstrip patch antenna [36]. the same radiating element is used for different frequency . As depicted in Figure 23 in this study linearly polarized antennas are grouped together and fed in such a way that 30 5 16. there are some challenges when UWB antenna element is utilized in multifrequency radar system. a directive UWB antenna with large fractional bandwidth has been designed for full-polarimetric array.51 mm Ground Varactor diode Liquid crystal 59. In [47]. (a) 30 between the elements have been a major limiting factor. This will relax the preselect filter requirements. a varactor diode is inserted within the filter structure in order to provide frequency reconfiguration capability. Firstly.

Dual frequency reflectarray can be designed by using dual layers of radiating elements [64]. avoid amplitude tapering. Two planar arrays are incorporated for simultaneous S. the disadvantage of reflectarray is the limited bandwidth caused by the narrow bandwidth of the elements and the different phase lengths needed at each frequency for beam steering. bands. In this design. Rectangular ring resonator and circular patches are used as the radiating elements at S and X bands. for this approach separate antenna arrays and feeding networks are required which will increase the total size. The advantage of shared aperture antenna is possibility to perform multiple tasks. every . However. The disadvantage of this approach is the complex fabrication process due to the five substrate layers. The array operates in triband and C. the coupling between two adjacent wideband elements is very high. Advantages of this approach are the simple configuration and frequency jumps that can be extremely large. a dualfrequency dual-polarized array antenna is presented (see Figure 26). As the S-band elements. and is significantly bulkier than planar antennas.and X-band operation. 5. dipoles are used while square patches are used as the X-band element (see Figure 28). the two types of elements are orthogonally polarized and therefore isolation between them is very high. These are low cost. the idea is to share the physical area of the antenna aperture between different subarrays. This concept can be utilized for multifrequency. The measured bandwidth of VSWR < 2 are 8. An alternative solution is to employ different radiating elements for different antenna performances. multifunction.to X-band tapered element Figure 23: Dual-polarized UWB subarray [47]. and multipolarization applications. For reflector antennas frequency agility can be achieved by mounting several feed horns about the focus (with some degradation of pattern characteristics). However. An example of dual frequency reflectarray is presented in Figure 27. Here interleaved matrix of radiators is used [61]. Reflector type antenna has very high efficiency but requires mechanical movement to steer its beam. achieve narrow beam width. it is not flat and not easy to integrate on a host platform. Figure 25: Multiband phased-array antenna with interleaved elements [62]. Furthermore. The shared aperture antenna is one example of the mentioned design concept. The main challenges related to shared aperture antenna is to design subarrays which satisfies their requirements and placing the elements on the same aperture while avoiding any physical overlapping. Here an interleaved phased array is utilized with waveguide element and wideband tapered element (see Figure 25). However.2.1. Shared Aperture Antennas. In this approach. and high gain antennas with the beam scanning capability of a phasedarray antenna. Radiator on 𝐹3 Radiator on 𝐹2 Radiator on 𝐹1 Wideband aperture Figure 24: Shared aperture antenna [61]. These circular patches are combined to form the array using a series-fed structure to save the space of the feeding line network. The dual frequency ratio is here 1 : 3. and a foam layer is used to separate the array. low profile. As a result reflectarray antennas are often used. 5. X and Ku band. One of the important design considerations for any multilayer array is that the antennas operating at different bands should be nearly transparent to each other to avoid performance degradation. Furthermore.9% for S band and 17% for X band. respectively. The concept is illustrated in Figure 24.International Journal of Antennas and Propagation 9 Ku-band waveguide element C. Another notable example of multiband array is presented in [65]. this being the major limiting factor for the array performance. An alternative solution of shared aperture antenna is multilayer antenna array. In [63]. and so forth. Another notable example of multiband array is presented in [62]. The S-band elements are placed on the top substrate. The waveguide element operates at Ku band and the wideband “bunny ear” element operates at C to X band. Multilayer Antennas.

They possess the properties to modify the relevant circuital characteristics and/or radiation properties in real time. with switching components such to obtain proper antenna operation within the aimed frequency bands. The first case requires reconfigurability not only at antenna element level. 20 mil) (a) Ground plane Ka-band array (b) Figure 27: Dual-layer reflectarray topology [64]. and/or radiation pattern agility. for example. The second case considers narrowband elements whose centre frequency is tuned with tunable components or substrates. Frequency agility can be intended either as the ability to switch between different operating frequency bands (linked to the sensor application). 6. Therefore. Moreover. The implementation of several functionalities on the same antenna requires topological reconfigurability to achieve radiation pattern and frequency agility. As stated in [65].33. In particular. for example. Conclusions Reconfigurable antennas have their applications in numerous areas such as communications and surveillance. Polarization agility refers to the ability to change the polarization of the transmitted/received electromagnetic field. C-band feed horn Ka-band feed horn or C-band array 5870 Roger duroid (𝜀𝑟 = 2. digital beam forming in transmit and receive would offer great flexibility in the definition of the field of view and coverage. dual-polarized antenna element of both bands has two coaxial connectors beneath the substrates of the antenna. a dual-polarized 2 × 1 Sband or 7 × 4 X-band array will need 60 coaxial connectors. but also at array topology level.10 International Journal of Antennas and Propagation Foam layer ℎ1 𝜀1 ℎ2 𝜀2 ℎ3 𝜀3 H port (X band) V port (S band) H port (S band) 𝑦 S-band element 𝑧 X-band element Ground plane 𝑥 𝑦 𝑧 𝑥 V port (X band) Figure 26: A dual-polarized planar-array antenna for S and X band [63]. to correspondingly adapt the array spacing. 20 mil) 7 mm air (foam) Reflectarray 5870 Roger duroid (𝜀𝑟 = 2.33. This requires both the possibility to choose the most suited beam-forming algorithm and corresponding calibration procedure. polarization. between two orthogonal . The antenna element can be reconfigured to obtain frequency. in a multifunctional system. or to tune the centre frequency of the instantaneous bandwidth within the total operating bandwidth of a specific communication or sensing functionality. a large number of connectors is required for the array structure. parameters such as the shape and size of the array and the grid spacing should be changed to adapt to the requirements set by the considered functionality.

More recently. an adaptive element will provide the most compact solution and therefore can be easily realized in a dense array. a change in the resonant frequency or beam steering. diodes) in the radiating element might increase the power loss. or by implementing dual (multi-) layered arrays. At least three approaches can be identified to obtain an antenna able to cover different frequency bands. and liquid crystal are used for these tunable antennas. MEMS. by considering frequency tunable antenna elements. In view of this. This approach involves fully populated individual arrays placed together in a manner as to minimize the interference of one (array) over the other. Ferrite. Therefore. Among different radiators. Tunable or switchable narrowband antennas are the best solution when the size and efficiency are important issues. MEMS switches have some advantages over PIN diodes. linear polarizations or between linear and circular polarization. Wideband Antenna Integration with Tunable Filters. integrating large number of lumped components (e. they are typically used as a load to tune the resonance frequency of the antenna element. Consequently. ferroelectric material. and proper modeling. accurate control of the material property. Tunable/Switchable Antenna Technology. for example. the main design challenges include feeding network. for example. These technologies are especially suitable for antennas realized in printed technology.. mutual coupling. such as communication (typically circular) and surveillance (typically linear). However. such as ferrite. if frequency agility is required also filtering of out-of-band signals should be reconfigurable. Polarization agility is an asset to implement on the same hardware platform functionalities with different polarization requirements. A radiating element in printed technology consists of a metallic surface to which an electric signal is coupled through a guiding line. For this reason. An UWB or multiband antenna makes it possible to cover a very wide bandwidth which can encompass all desired frequencies of operation. these researches are still at a preliminary state and are facing challenges like reliability. higher quality factor. corresponding to different functionalities: by using very wideband technology. antennas which are tuned by varying substrate properties have gained some research interest. Tunable materials. Varactor diodes provide a capacitance that can be continuously tuned by acting on the diode bias voltage. for example. Enabling technologies for antenna reconfigurability are switches. MEMS with capacitance variable in a given range represent a topic of research but currently available prototypes are not yet sufficiently reliable. Reconfigurable Arrays. and the need of filters for multifunctional operations. An adaptive antenna can be realized by changing the physical structure of the radiator. Moreover. Elements for both arrays can be combined into individual modules. Switches such as PIN diodes and RF MEMS are typically used to electrically connect/disconnect metallic parts in order to introduce (discretized) changes in the geometry of the total radiating surface. This approach reduces the requirements of the front-end filter compared to a UWB or multiband approach. efficiency.International Journal of Antennas and Propagation 11 X-band driven patch S-band feed line 20 mm S-band parasitic dipoles Layer 5 X-band parasitic patch Tuning stub Layer 4 X-band parasitic patch Layer 3 S-band driven dipoles Layer 2 X-band driven patch S-band feed line SSMA connectors Layer 1 Ground SSMA connectors (a) S-band stacked dipoles (b) Figure 28: Dual-band dual-polarized antenna array: (a) side view and (b) top view [65]. For the dual layer approach to minimize performance degradation the top array should be nearly transparent to the bottom . higher linearity. The power handling capability and the lifetime of the switches are important issues. they show higher actuation voltage and longer switching time. variable capacitances. they can be used as antenna substrates to uniformly vary the size of the radiating surface therewith obtaining. An alternative solution is to place the filter in the radiating element itself. an alternative approach consists in implementing the switch at the level of the matching network. However. ferroelectric materials. and tunable substrates. such as lower insertion loss. Most of the proposed radiating elements are evolutions of the tapered slot antenna and have a threedimensional geometry. which is typically located under the ground plane (for antenna in printed circuit board) between the antenna element and the TR module. Recent advances in MEMS technology enable the realization of MEMS with improved switching speed and compact size. and complexity of the biasing circuitry. through switches or varactor diodes. However. lower noise figure. This will relax the preselect filter requirements. noise.g. and liquid crystals are materials whose dielectric properties can be changed by applying an electric or magnetic field. and very little DC power consumption. lower power losses.

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